Currently working my way through the entirety of The Divine Comedy...while simultaneously finishing McCullough's John Adams, and reading poetry by Philip Levine and Bob Hicok. While I don't remember much of The Divine Comedy from when I read it in college (did I read it in HS? Is it bad that I don't remember?), I am thoroughly impressed with the terza rima and the story itself. Perhaps it's my maturity as a reader now, having learned the patience and intelligence needed to write 'good' poetry and fiction and, as a result, having learned to read as a writer, but I can pick through a lot of Dante's technique now, and find a lot of the idiosyncrasies in his writing.
He was incredibly talented in telling the tale, and incredibly creative for imagining such a story. And as a writer, the terza rima rhyme scheme is pure genius. (Go to the New Yorker's website and look up the Terza Rima poem by Richard Wilbur that came out a few months ago.) Reading through a book like this, and reflecting on the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series, it amazes me that someone can conjure the necessary imagination and patience to create a masterpiece like one of these. Will I ever be able to create an enduring work? A story as imaginative and everlasting as one of these? Will I find a way to create a world of my own on a page and create the lives of characters too real to be imagined? I surely hope so.
Harry Potter will last forever because it has enduring themes and appeals to young adults. Should we allow the books to be taught in public schools in some aspect? To be studied in some way along with several other books, such as Catcher in the Rye or The Outsiders? There are countless themes that can be explored between these works, and we all know the appeal these novels already hold...seems to me that 'the canon' might need to be bent a bit, expanded, or added to in some respect to allow the inclusion of books like these, which could ultimately improve literacy or enjoyment in reading among our youth population.